Sid Armstrong's BLOG - October 28th -30th 2011

Sid Armstrong, a proud member of the Armstrong Siddeley Car Club of Australia

Across the Tasman with Joseph & Tina

I was thrilled to receive an invitation from Joseph Dalgleish & Tina DeVries to accompany them on a weekend trip to New Zealand. Talk about a tight schedule! I had just returned to Sydney from my three State tour with our Club's President yesterday, not really feeling all that well after so much wine. But I somehow managed to get my head together, repack my bag, and make it to the airport in time to catch my flight.  

Imagine my surprise to find that the New Zealand Armstrong Siddeley Club members had decided to put on a Rugby World cup for my benefit. They even televised the Australia v Wales game after the NZ AGM and dinner especially for me.

I quite enjoyed looking over a recently completed Typhoon restored and presented for the first time by Ian Patterson but it's a pity I brought my film camera and now I have to wait for the pics to be developed before I can see them.

Saturday sees the NZ folk maneuver their Armstrong-Siddeleys through various events in a traditional Rally Gymkhana. I first of all discovered that I was not very good at throwing a dart at a bulls eye when travelling at 10MPH in a borrowed Armstrong Siddeley.

Sid Armstrong driving an Armstrong Siddeley 236 in the New Zealand Gymkhna My driving over a plank hazard with a tray of golf balls – each balanced on a golf tee left something to be desired as well. I allowed all but 5 of the 18 balls to fall off, but maybe that was just the cars fault as it is extremely difficult to balance a tray of golf balls on a 236 bonnet when executing a 3 point turn.

When it comes to dropping a ball into a horizontal drainpipe and driving to the end to catch it in a bucket, I once again made all the NZ folk look good. I still have no idea how I managed to miss catching every single one.  My Australian friends have obviously overlooked these important aspects of my education in all their Federal Rallies which is really such a pity as I was not able to demonstrate the usually superior Australian sporting prowess in any of the events that I attempted.

  There was an interesting moment at the Club evening meal on Saturday evening when the festivities were gate crashed by one Prionoplus Reticularis sometimes referred to by its proper name – the Huhu Bug. Dessert will never be the same after the NZ President picked it up and offered it to anyone prepared to follow the Maori way and prove they are edible creatures.

See if you can spot Sid Armstrong amongst this collection of New Zealand Armstrong Siddeley enthusiasts.

Somewhat more weird was the café décor, especially decorated throughout for the Saturday evening with a collection of royal mementoes.  HRH Prince William and his new bride were present (as life size cardboard cutouts) and the display cases contained souvenirs dating back to the 1953 tour of New Zealand by HM Queen Elizabeth II.  

I particularly enjoyed the trip along the coast of the Coromandel Valley South East from Auckland and I thought that it was more picturesque than the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Wetook note of the very smooth road-surface too, something that is not to be underestimated when one is traveling in a 1950s motor vehicle.

My New Zealand visit was cut short during the challenge run on Sunday morning.  I was just getting into my stride in answering the observation questions when my two travel companions insisted that we return to the airport to fly back to Australia in time for them to go back to work on Monday. This may be just as well, as I'm off on another adventure with Peter & Julie Hills as soon as I return home to Sydney.

I've already been invited to return to New Zealand for their Rally next year that will be held in the Central Region. I now have just 12 months in which to hone my Gymkhana skills!

Thanks Joseph & Tina for a memorable weekend.

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